Workforce Connection - Region 10
American Recovery and Reinvestment
Crisis builds community

Respond, Retrain, Re-employ, Recover



Online Column

Performance Snapshot
Region 10 – Citrus, Levy and Marion

Training Participants



August 2009 - Total 988
Classroom Training
On-the-Job Training
Customized Training
Employed Worker

Training Projections
Workforce Connection has enrolled
1,665 individuals in training for $1.1
million and projects to award
another $1.8 million by December

Last year, Workforce Connection responded to 23 requests for assistance
from companies that were experiencing layoffs. These do not represent all
the layoffs that occurred. Those ranged from very small layoffs to 279
employees laid off at Merillat. In spring of 2009, it appeared that things might
be turning around. During March 2009 and April 2009, unemployment
inched downward. Then on August 5, Workforce and its partners were
devastated to hear that Taylor, Bean and Whitaker and three related
businesses were closing.
Respond: A Different Kind of First Responder
After hearing the news on Wednesday afternoon, Workforce and Central
Florida Community College staff met to plan an outplacement services event
which served 600 people on Friday, August 7. In less than two days,
partners, businesses and community volunteers pulled together to plan an
all day outplacement event. Former Taylor Bean employees attended a
getting started orientation, met with community resource organizations,
registered for unemployment, learned how to use, and
prepared for the Job Fair scheduled for the following Tuesday. The
community came forward to offer support, lunch, job openings and other
resources. The Chamber of Commerce reminded businesses to hire local.
During the Taylor Bean event, community resource organizations were
invited to become part of the general Job Fair, scheduled just two business
days later. Once again, partners responded. The response was so positive,
community resource organizations were expanded during the September
Job Fair.
By the following Thursday, State Representative Kurt Kelly convened
national, state and local leaders to discuss an overall response to the rising
unemployment. Workforce laid out many of the strategies described in detail
in the inside of this newsletter. The current situation called for a multipronged effort that involved the Ocala/Marion County Economic
Development Corporation (EDC), Ocala/Marion County Chamber of
Commerce, CFCC, local governments, businesses, social service
organizations and elected officials.
Retrain: A Primary Focus for Stimulus Funds
With jobs declining; a key focus for Workforce staff and funding is assisting
job candidates in retraining for growth fields. Staff has been assisting
individuals with the completion of scholarship applications and counseling
these individuals on career planning and job seeking strategies.
Re-employ: Job Candidates have to Work Harder than Ever
Workforce has stepped up efforts to prepare job candidates. From the recent
Career Launch series to center-based classes to more one-on-one career
coaching, many need help beyond on-line, self-service tools such as .


(Continued on back page)



Projects at a Glance
DCF Call Center Brings 75 Jobs
As a result of large scale layoffs, calls have increased considerably around the state for
unemployment compensation, food stamps and public assistance. The increased phone
traffic drove the Dept. of Children and Families to establish a new call center in the state.
When Workforce Connection CEO Rusty Skinner heard about the need, Skinner, Dept. of
Children and Families (DCF) Administrator Bill D'Aiuto and DCF Deputy Director Don
Winstead set out to see how our region could be considered. With the large number of
trained call center workers available in Marion County, the area was very attractive as a
location. The Marion County EDC was instrumental in quickly finding a suitable location.
Workforce staff identified eligible job candidates for DCF and scheduled interviews for
124 people in just a few short weeks. Candidates had to be low-income, have a child
under 18 in the household, and have the required call center experience. The final
selection of employees will occur by October 9th with the call center opening no later
than November 1. From initial discussion to the DCF Call Center opening, these 75 new
jobs were established in Ocala in just 45 days.
Job candidate Tonija Parker, right, of Ocala, interviews for a DCF call center
opening on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009 at CFCC. (Photos by Workforce Connection ©)

Hundreds of Subsidized Jobs Possible
When Workforce learned about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Emergency Funds from Don Winstead, Deputy Director, DCF, they started researching
how this untapped pool of Federal Stimulus Funds could be used to help out with the
area's widespread unemployment. The funds, which have never been utilized in Florida
for employment projects, provide 80 cents for every 20 cents contributed from a local
partner. The funding must be used to hire job candidates within 200 percent of the
poverty level and have a child under the age of 18 in the household. Workforce is
working with local govermental agenices to increase local subsiidized jobs.
Students in the West Ocala Green Jobs Project tour the Brytan neighborhood of
Gainesville. The homes are high-performing and low cost green homes.

Workforce & Staffing Industry = Jobs
When companies are unsure if their growth is going to be constant, they tap the staffing
industry as a safe way to expand their workforce. By using the staffing industry they are
able to dip their toes into the pool and determine if the signs of continued growth exist.
Because of this, Workforce has been having continued dialogue with the area’s staffing
firms to strategically determine ways to partner that will assist both the businesses and
the job seekers. One such solution is promoting on-the-job training through staffing firms
for temp-to-hire positions.
This creative approach put staffing firms out in our community, as a special arm of
Workforce, to develop jobs with their business clients that result in jobs for our job seeker
customers. This is a perfect match that increases our ability as a system to help our
community businesses grow and to place people into good jobs.
Former Taylor, Bean and Whitaker employees attend a resource event for laid off
workers as they search for opportunities on Aug. 7, 2009 at CFCC.

One-on-one Services Expanded through Scheduling
With the changing workforce market conditions, job candidates need more personalized
attention than they did a year ago. Additional one-on-one time is needed to perfect
resumes, develop creative job seeking strategies, and to develop re-training and
scholarship applications. Because of this need, Workforce has restructured their four
center schedules to incorporate a mix of walk-in full-service, self-service, and
appointments only in order to schedule more one-on-one sessions for dislocated
workers. For details on the newly structured hours, go to .
Posters are displayed at all the Workforce centers with the new service hours
challenging all visitiors with, “Sky is the limit in career opportunities!”




Projects at a Glance
Over $5 Million in Retraining Grants Written
While Workforce has been very aggressive in retraining the area’s dislocated workers,
the need is great. Our local Workforce Investment Act and the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act funds are currently 49 percent obligated and it is only September. It is
anticipated that 100 percent of current scholarship funds will be obligated by December
2009. Retraining is needed for many of the unemployed in growth occupations such as
healthcare, corrections and green jobs.
With this need in mind, Workforce's senior management team wrote five retraining grants
for a total of $5 million over the last two months. The grants included $200,000 in State
Rapid Response Funds, $158,000 for small business development training and support,
$360,000 for healthcare occupations, $1.6 million for a second National Emergency
Grant, and $2.9 million for a West Ocala Green Jobs Project. The $200,000 grant has
been awarded. Notification on the success of the other applications should occur
between now and December.
Munroe Regional Medical Center and Workforce Connection partnered on training
program to transition Graduate Nurses to Registered Nurses. This is the first
graduating class. The successful project is part of a new training grant
proposal to prepare nurses for critical care areas. (Photo provided by MRMC)

Expanded Safety Net Events
Job candidates are facing very long job searches, with some coming to the end of their
unemployment benefits. This has resulted in Workforce ramping up strategies to assist
customers with everything from childcare to healthcare to foreclosure assistance. On
Sept. 2, 2009, Workforce co-sponsored an Access to Healthcare event to inform area
human resource directors, social services counselors and other community resource
staff on the variety of health and mental health services in Marion County. The most
recent Marion County Job Fair was expanded to become a Job and Community
Resource Fair with over 700 attending. In Citrus County, a Community Resource Fair
was held at the Citrus Board of Realtors with over 100 attending. Marion County Board of
County Commissioners, CFCC and Workforce are partners with the Florida Dept. of
Financial Services, CFO Alex Sink, in a Housing Help Event scheduled for Oct. 10 at the
Ewers Century Center.
Workforce has negotiated a pre-paid expedited childcare
contract with the Marion County Early Learning Coalition to ensure childcare is readily
available to dislocated job candidates needing it to start a new career or training
Watch videos on Access to Healthcare at, with
resources for displaced workers and others without health insurance.

Targeted Class Size Contracts for High Growth Fields
By purchasing full classes in high demand occupations, Workforce can better insure
quicker turnaround training opportunities, targeted curriculum and opportunities of new
training offerings in rural areas such as Levy County (where minimum class enrollment
cannot always be achieved). This fall, programs were funded in Welding, Certified
Nursing Assistant, Medical Secretary, Pharmacy Tech, NCCER Green Construction,
NCCER Electrical Crafts and LEED certification. The classes are preparing job
candidates for growing healthcare, nuclear energy and stimulus infrastructure projects.
Partners include CFCC, Withlacoochee Technical Institute, Progress Energy, Shaw and
area healthcare providers.
Dave Brown, center, with the Institute of Envelope Science, DeLand, Florida,
discusses the weatherization lab with students in the West Ocala Green Jobs
Project at CFCC’s Hampton Center, in Ocala.

Levy County Offices Expanded
Thanks to the on-going support of the Levy County School Board, Workforce was able to
triple space at the Bronson Workforce Center, located at 9051 NE Highway 27 in
Bronson, Florida. Instead of one portable, the facility has expanded to three portables.
This joint partnership has resulted in improved service delivery to residents of Levy
County. An open house will be scheduled this fall for area residents, businesses and
Staff members of the Bronson Workforce Center, left to right, Penny Spence,
Sabrina Joyner, Anita Williams, Kim Smith and Cathy Roche attended training at
CFCC’s Webber Center on Oct. 2, 2009. Workforce staff continually updates
workforce skills to help job candidates expand career and education options.


3300 SW 34th Avenue, Suite 148
Ocala, Florida 34474
1 800-434-JOBS (5627)

The Citrus Resource Fair on Sept. 29, 2009
in Lecanto, Florida, is one of the many
examples how Workforce Connection has
expanded the “safety net” for dislocated
workers. Hearing impaired students from
Withlacoochee Technical Institute learn
about Citrus County health resources.


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FALL 2009


Crisis builds community - continued
In addition to individual employment solutions, Workforce is working with
local economic development partners and businesses to help with
expansions and new business attraction. In some instances, Workforce is
helping candidates find new jobs and relocate to other areas of the state
or nation.
Recover: Creating a Stronger Workforce and Nimble Businesses
Challenging times often drive positive outcomes. With a large surge in
college enrollments, education levels and wages may ultimately increase
in our region. Higher skilled and educated workers can attract higher
wage companies. Businesses are sharpening their spending, tightening
their processes and reviewing their product and market focus. Some
experienced job seekers are looking at self-employment options,
potentially resulting in small business growth.
Recovery depends on a sustained community effort which focuses on
both business and individual needs. Workforce Connection has an
important role in the region’s long-term recovery.